Jolie said her mother, who died of ovarian cancer in 2007, influences every aspect of her life: from the way she raises her children to her far-reaching humanitarian work.
“I feel in contact with my mother when I look at my children,” Angelina told French Marie Claire. “I can feel her influence over me then. I see that my way of raising them resembles the way she raised my brother and I.
“It’s more apparent with my daughters Shiloh and Vivienne. Therefore, my mother is there, present in this influence, all the time.”
Jolie said her compassionate and loving mother, a former actress, inspired her humanitarian work.
“[My mom] was very soft but could move mountains for her kids,” she said. “That’s something I always admire in women: that mix of softness and strength. She was half-Indian, and I remember that as a small girl, she took me to a dinner for Amnesty International. She always tried to understand the complexity of the world. She had a great heart which was sensitive to the world’s violence.”
Angelina married Brad Pitt in August 2014 in a fairytale wedding ceremony at Chateau Miraval, their sprawling wine estate in Southern France. The couple are the parents of six children.
Jolie said living in Provence, France, is perfect for her family, although she admits she has trouble relaxing. “I’m not very good at relaxing,” she said. “I can’t stay put. I read, write, negotiate films, I carry my office around with me.”
Jolie is doing well after undergoing a preventive double mastectomy in February 2013 after genetic testing revealed she had an 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer and a 50 percent chance of contracting ovarian cancer.
As a result of her mastectomy, Angelina’s breast-cancer risk has dropped to under 5%. Jolie’s mother, aunt, uncle, grandmother and grandfather all died from cancer, forcing the Oscar winner to take the radical step of preemptively removing both her breasts.
Jolie said she will remove her ovaries in the near future. The ovary-removal procedure, called an oophorectomy, will lower the risk of ovarian cancer by 80%-90% by reducing the amount of estrogen and progesterone circulating in the body.
Angelina, who has been a United Nations goodwill ambassador since 2001, discussed how her charity work has changed her outlook on life in Notes from My Travels.